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Friday, October 23, 2015

Carl Jung: The extravert feels prospectively, the introvert retrospectively,

[Carl Jung: The extravert feels prospectively, the introvert retrospectively, so that the latter remains longer under the impression of the difficulty.]

Dear Friend, [undated]

I would like to say in advance that in general I agree with the views expressed in your letter.

They are very clear and show the way that leads beyond the incongruity of the two types.

Here too, as always, I have to admire the extravert’s capacity to move ahead of the difficulty, and beyond it, with his feeling.

The extravert feels prospectively, the introvert retrospectively, so that the latter remains longer under the impression of the difficulty.

It seems to me that we are proceeding from different levels.

I realized this when I read your interpretation of my example of the teacher.

When I speak of the “ideally oriented” extravert, I speak of someone who is in greatest accordance with his type.

This implies that such a person realizes his feeling to the greatest extent, and his self- knowledge to the least extent.

For this reason I would like to call precisely that teacher an ideally oriented type.

She naturally makes the mistake, as can be expected, of not realizing her archaic motherly attitude because of her lack of self- knowledge.

She could do this if she ever reached the subjective plane, and asked herself: “Why am I always fussing with my students?

Couldn’t the mistake lie with me?”

Naturally she is fully justified in fussing with the object, according to her type, but actually inevitable.

If she then still persists in manipulating the object, however, she will violate it.

You write that if she really loved her students she would have felt herself correctly into their psychology.

Certainly, but true love presupposes self- awareness.

Or do you believe that, proceeding from her unconscious motherly attitude, she could all of a sudden attain real love, without the mediation of self- knowledge?

This would run counter to all experience, and would, moreover, render superfluous an analysis, which is indispensable in such a case.

We know well enough that objects are needlessly tormented by such an attitude, and that, unless the objects react most vigorously, no insight at all will result.

Even if the objects put up a desperate resistance, the ideally oriented person may long go on seeking the mistake outside, instead of within himself.

I maintain that in this case in particular it is absolutely necessary to view this on the subjective plane, and I dispute the possibility that “real” love can be attained without the mediation of self- knowledge.

Once again I must emphasize that it is not the aim of directing the understanding on the subjective plane to explain the object merely as a symbol, but to explain it also as a symbol.

So in my view an “ideally oriented type” is not an analyzed type at all, but an unanalyzed one, someone, for example, who only has a very good sailing boat, but without a built- in motor, thus a vehicle that does not move for hours when there is no wind.

The wind comes from the outside; psychologically speaking, it comes from the object, or rather from the extravert’s relation to the object.

His ideal, unanalyzed attitude has the unpleasant quality, however, of expecting the other to generate the wind with which he wants to sail.

This intolerable demand will lead to catastrophes if both types insist on the right of their existence.

And it is not possible for only one of them to give in insofar as he will then simply fall prey to the other.

I must make a few remarks concerning your interpretation of the “two truths,” because I do not altogether agree with you.

It seems to me that the “ideals” of both types are merely special examples of their “truth” and not just another expression for “truth.”

According to your approach, you call “rational truth” the use of all capacities for adaptation to reality, and “irrational truth” the one- sided striving for perfecting the personality (nota bene, in the way the type understands it).

It is certainly reasonable to make use of all capacities in the fight for adaptation, and it is certainly unreasonable to go after a one- sided ideal— but this has nothing to do with rational or irrational truth.

If one followed your argument, one- sided striving would have to be ruled out, insofar as it is unreasonable, in favor of rational striving.

The only thing gained would be the very problem people suffer from, namely, a one- sided rational ideal.

This is the reason why I cannot accept your view; because for me it is essential that both, the rational as well as the irrational, are accepted.

The two truths have indeed something to do with the two “realities,” which we might call the “psychological” and the “real” one.

Both types share the error of believing that they will find their driving force in the outside world.

This is the error not only of the extravert but also of the introvert.

The latter is completely extraverted in his thinking, just as the extravert is in his feeling, only the introvert takes possession of the idea of the object, whereas the extravert takes possession of the object itself.

In short, the introvert thinks with the object, the extravert feels with it.

In doing so, they are both completely rational.

They can find their own irrational (i.e., psychological) truth only in themselves, and with it the true source of energy, because life flows from ourselves and not from the objects.

We are blinded in this respect by the spirit of our age.

Not only nations but also individuals are alienated from themselves in modernity by inter-individual and international relations, and they find the object of their desire always where there is already someone else.

This has led to the boundless international superficiality, which is nothing but a mass phenomenon of inter-individual normalization and equalization.

And the latter phenomenon itself is nothing but the outflow of an archaic collectivity that still sticks to people.

This collectivity seduces us into the erroneous belief that the other will take the same delight in being used as I do in using him.

This naive assumption, which is rooted in collectivity, necessarily leads to mutual fleecing and violating.

Although this a priori identity with the object results in an increased adaptation to outer reality, even to the point that we can speak of a worldwide
cultural thought, there is no real advantage in this, neither for a nation nor for the individual, because they both get equalized and lose their intrinsic values.

The leveling- out of all external opposites produces big newspapers, excellent railway timetables, fast connections by steamship, internationally accepted
rules of conduct, like- minded convictions, international industrial and commercial organizations, and a division of labor that is carried to the extreme.

But all of this makes man, who is not a machine but many sided, sick.

The opposites should be evened out in the individual himself.

True, this will not lead to a general “standard,” to a universal ideal of the arts, the sciences, or of production of all kinds; what will emerge is what is generally not accepted, but individually valuable, what is internationally regarded as quaint or funny, but is nationally valued and alive.

For man is not only a herd animal obeying a universal rule but also a “strange” being.

It is not only the rational truth of the herd that is vital to him but above all his irrational strangeness, the vital value of which is denied by any outsider, but
which is perfectly and immediately evident to the individual; after all, this is what is his very own and his inner vitality!

It is not the sameness of nations and individuals but their extreme diversity and singularity that are valuable and beautiful in them.

With the spirit of international modernity, which is rooted in precisely those vestiges of archaic collectivity, we shall experience the building of a second tower of Babel, which as we know ends in a confusion of tongues.

In this way nature helps herself, so that everybody will arrive at what is his own, and though it may be incomprehensible to the other, it still has the greatest vital value.

This is, in my view, the irrational truth.

Just as little as I think that irrational or psychological truth is the only possible and desirable one, do I think that the development
of subjectivity (“subjective plane”) alone leads to the desired goal.

I see adaptation to reality in the same way as Fr. Th. Vischer views morality, that is, that morality is self-evident.

Since such adaptation is an endless problem, not constrained by any one side— for “reality” can be expanded interminably— we need some sort of standard, and this standard can never be provided by the object but only by the subject.

Although the object can constrain us outwardly, it cannot do the thinking process, which sets norms and limits for us.

The moral law lies within ourselves, not in the object.

I have to protect the object against too much experimenting.

I must also remind you of the fact that even the Freudian way of analysis aims at a change in the subjective attitude, which is brought about by a subjective, psychological process, and not at predominantly experiencing the object and doing something with it.

Moreover, I have to confess that I cannot unconditionally subscribe to Goethe’s statement.

We must not forget that even Goethe is not the absolute authority but a human being who, as far as his unconscious is concerned, is just as small and impotent as any other insignificant person.

His simile of “the ploy of secretly allied priests” clearly indicates a certain fear of the snares of the unconscious.

Someone who does not have analysis— which is, after all, a most important achievement of our time— is justified, from the beginning, in being
suspicious of the unconscious.

For him it is undoubtedly better to stick to the “world,” because he lacks the weapons to hold out against the ensnaring powers of his own unconscious.

Someone of our age, however, who possesses the tools of analysis, will know how to get to the bottom of this “ploy of secretly allied priests,” and he will also be able to distinguish between “false inner tranquility” and a serious investigation of his own soul.

And you know very well, by the way, that an analytical examination on the subjective plane is anything but “tranquil”; it is, on the contrary, very discomforting.

Moreover, what Goethe says about the ineffectiveness of self-knowledge is disproved by experience and is the expression of a subjective view that is based on an equally subjective view of the nature of self- knowledge.

Goethe is speaking here of his private problem, which is not generally binding.

You must not suppose, by the way, that I deny the importance, in principle, of experiencing with the help of the object; I only maintain that this is often exaggerated.

Too much experiencing with the help of the object, however, is also tantamount to bringing infantile fantasies into what is concrete.

Yet infantile fantasy is not suited for this, for when it is transferred into the object, it becomes the most worthless and objectionable thing, but when being kept within the subject, it becomes what is most valuable, namely, the source of anything new and of further development.

From your letter I gained the impression that our views on this point are not so very far apart.

It is understandable that you are a bit more in favor of the object, and I a bit more in favor of the subject.

The “development of the personality” and the “creation of impersonal values” are not identical but, as already shown by the choice of these terms, of an antithetical nature.

The striving for the creation of impersonal values deprives the introvert of a considerable sum of energy in the development of his personality, so that he, just as much as the extravert, in a certain sense falls behind himself (though in the opposite way than does the extravert).

We must never forget that both types always contain both mechanisms, so that they would be identical, so to speak, if not for the fact that they are completely opposed.

I do not think that the object is an outright obstacle to extraverted feeling.

I don’t know where you get that from.

All that is certain is that the extravert’s abstract feeling does not really love the object, but merely desires it.

You prove this yourself by your statement that for the extravert the object is indispensable for his feeling.

Calves and pigs are indispensable for satisfying our hunger, but they would challenge that we love them, for they probably feel quite roughly treated
when we lovingly prepare them for a meal.

Because of his deficient sensation the extravert believes that his object is naturally delighted by getting his “love,” just as he himself is gratifi ed by achieving the fulfillment of his wish.

The feeling of the extravert corresponds to outer reality; calves and pigs are really there to be eaten.

Thus the feeling of the teacher also corresponds to outer reality: the one uses the other, the one devours the other, by cunning and force everybody fights for his place in the sun.

And if he does not do it consciously, he does it unconsciously, and then claims that this is love, and he can claim this so long as he senses and feels deficiently.

His object, however, does not feel loved at all.

The teacher completely ruins the situation for herself, because she senses nothing and thinks nothing, but merely “loves,” and because the students are indispensable for her feeling.

Even though she may have correctly recognized the spirit of outer reality, and of the struggle for life, in her feeling she still does not recognize the powers of the interior, the power, that is, of her students’ sensation and thinking.

The students are not cattle for slaughter but human beings who are also struggling for their place in the sun.

So I’m saying: precisely because the feeling of the extravert does not correspond to his own inner world (where there is sensation and thinking), but to outer reality with its merciless struggle for life, he is unconsciously completely steeped in the spirit of usurpation and violation.

The abstract thinking of the introvert is a parallel to this.

It is so much in accordance with outer reality that unconsciously it is completely saturated with, and contingent upon, the lusting for power in the world.

We only have to remind ourselves of how pretentious a posture certain philosophical systems assume!

Naturally the introvert tries to keep his feeling away from his thinking, but this is exactly why, eventually, it will nonetheless find its way into his thinking, in the form of lust for power, where it will occasionally break through with overwhelming force, as in Zarathustra, for example.

As far as your schema is concerned, I have to say the following: It is in accordance with my view and correctly represents it.

It is certainly true that the unanalyzed introvert naively projects his psychology, and, therefore, assumes that the other feels and thinks exactly as he does.

Thus he also assumes, for instance, that the feeling and representation of the extravert lead to inner reality in the same way as they do in his, the introvert’s, case.

I think I have shown very clearly by my earlier comments, however, that I am not at all of the opinion that your feeling and representation lead to inner reality; otherwise I would not have put so much emphasis on the importance of the “subjective plane.”

I have thus very clearly emphasized that I am deeply convinced that your feeling and representation do not lead to inner reality, as they do in my case, but merely to thinking and sensation, which in my case lead to the outer world.

So I did not feel violated by you at all; all I said was that the extravert violates his object.

It is altogether characteristic of the extravert that he never experiences the conflict in question as irreconcilable, or even tragic, for the simple reason that he does not think and sense the object sufficiently enough.

He forces the object to fight against that “love” as violently as this “love” is violent itself, because unconsciously he tyrannically takes possession of the
object and can neither sense nor think how the object inwardly resists this.

A strong and healthy man, who can put up with tastelessness and brutality, and who would rather kill the other than let himself be killed, will enter into this fight to the advantage of both sides.

A sensitive and aesthetic man, who cannot put up with brutality, will not enter into this fight, to his and his partner’s detriment.

And that is tragic.

That is why I speak of the possibility of a tragic misunderstanding.

On the other hand, we must admire how well nature has arranged this, too.

The extravert forces the introvert, through the blindness of his love, to summon in self- defense all the violence and brutality from the depths of his soul, which the latter so desperately needs in his struggle for life.

The energetic resistance of the introvert forces the extravert, in turn, to realize all the shortcomings of his thinking and sensation, which had hampered him in the fight for adaptation in that they prevented him from intellectually grasping the situation adequately.

It is certainly true, as you say, that the opposites between the introvert and the extravert are irreconcilable only so long as the two types have not reached a compensation through their unconscious opposite, just as the opposites between the summit of Montblanc and sea level are irreconcilable only so long as Montblanc is not lowered by more than 2,000 meters, and the sea level raised by more than 2,000 meters.

A very simple procedure in theory, but somewhat more difficult in practice!

Practically speaking, compensation by the unconscious opposite turns out to be a cardinal question, which not only causes us to rack our brains but also breaks our hearts.

So there is every guarantee that the procedure of leveling and evening out is, if not a hopeless, then at least an extremely difficult task.

The introvert has a reactive type of loving, but an active type of thinking.

The extravert has a reactive type of thinking, but an active type of loving.

A person’s energy is always revealed by his activity.

That is his light; his shadow lies in his reactions.

So according to the tenor of your last letter, the goal toward which we are moving would promise nothing less than that the shadow will turn into light.

With regard to physics, however, we also have to consider our energy balance and its requirements.

Is human energy really strong enough, besides maintaining the light it has already created, to turn the shadow into light?

I fear we might be on the road to godlikeness, or at least about to create that completely spherical Platonic primordial being, whom, as we know, a god found it necessary to divide into two.

If we continue to pursue this road, namely, of compensating ourselves by our own unconscious opposite, we will arrive at fatal mythological analogies, one of which I have already mentioned.

For if we succeeded in activating even our shadow, and thereby bring about an all- sided or two-sided activity in ourselves, the shadow of the god would threaten to cut us in two, as it did with Plato’s orbicular and perfectly equipped primordial being.

As you know, this Platonic myth is a later echo of the earlier, widespread original idea of the first pair of parents, who were pressed together, lying on top of each other for aeons, all- round and positive, until one day a son arose between them, who, to their surprise, separated them.

Just as light and shadow always follow one another, positive and negative electricity always attract each other.

Two positive charges repel each other, however.

Thus we, too, might find that our activated, luminous shadow will suddenly separate itself from our actual light, as if it were repelled by an invisible power that interposes itself between the two centers of activity like a new shadow.

Naturally, this possibility arises only if we assume that it is at all possible to activate the shadow as well.

I certainly have to concede that all kinds of things are possible in humans, of which no one has dreamt in heaven and earth.

We have seen people making virtues out of their vices and, as Nietzsche says, a god out of their seven devils.

So why shouldn’t it be possible to raise the merely reactive side in our nature to activity?

It is actually more a question of time, and of goodwill and faith, than a question of whether this is possible at all.

We are bound, however, to our energy balance.

The energy we need to activate the shadow must necessarily be withdrawn from somewhere else.

And it can be withdrawn only from a place where energy can be found, that is, from thinking for the introvert, and from feeling for the extravert.

Through the withdrawal of energy, the active qualities are reduced to the level of a certain dullness.

Instead of a bright light and a dark shadow, there will be twilight everywhere.

We believe we can see something of the sort in certain oriental psychologies of religion, in which it is precisely the recognition of the shadow that led to the harmonization and leveling- out of the psychological opposites.

The legend of the life of Buddha bears testimony to this.

And what insights in this respect do we not owe to the superior mind of Lao Tzu!

But I will not further deal with this problem at this point, in order to hear your opinion.

To conclude, I would like to come back to the “metaphysical” concept of beauty and truth you discussed in your last letter.

Although you are quite Platonic, I find it possible to deal with this metaphysics in a metaphorical way.

In all modesty, it has to be stated that, although we may speak of metapsychology, it does not befit us to speak of metaphysics.

The latter we may well leave to those who are so well informed about the conditions in the beyond because they are on such excellent terms with it.

I believe, then, that we can speak of the “meta-psychological” as the hypostasis of what we infer from so-called unconscious factors in our consciousness.

Seen in this light it may appear to us as if the extravert’s striving is guided by a Platonic idea of “true beauty,” and that of the introvert by “beautiful truth.”

Even in this Platonic image, however, the shadows are as missing as they are above.

It will become completely human only if you assign a second “metaphysical” leading idea, that of “ugly untruth” to the extravert, and that of “untrue ugliness” to the introvert.

Let us not forget the truly mythological community between Silenus-like Socrates and Plato, who was fraternally united with the beautiful Dionysus.

In addition, one could tell a long story about the fates of extraverts and introverts.

World history is full of it.

Truth and beauty do not coincide when viewed in and by themselves, but only insofar as their value for life is concerned, for the god put a knife between the two halves of the perfectly equipped and spherical primordial being.

With best regards,

your Jung ~Carl Jung, Jung-Schmid Correspondence, Pages 74-86

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